Assessment of potential plant species for phytoremediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated areas of upper Assam, India



BACKGROUND: Contamination of soil and sediments with petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) is a serious global problem and environmental concern. Therefore, remediation of soil, water, and sediments is a great challenge for research in this field. This study aims to use two types of sedge species, Cyperus odoratus L. and Cyperus laevigatus L. for phytoremediation of crude oil contaminated soil. The study includes the evaluation of plant height, root length, total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) degradation in soil, TPH accumulation in plants grown in fertilized and unfertilized pots and most probable number (MPN).

RESULTS: The presence of high concentrations of TPH negatively affected the health and survival of plants. A better result for degradation of TPH was found in fertilized soil (C. odoratus: 78%, C laevigatus: 73%) than in unfertilized soil (C. odoratus: 45%, C. laevigatus: 43%) during the 360 day study. In unplanted pots, the reduction of TPH was 11% in fertilized soil and 9% in unfertilized soil. TPH accumulation by plants and MPN were statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: TPH degradation in soil considered together with the accumulation levels in roots and shoots as well as biomass production suggest that these plants could be used for phytoremediation. Furthermore, inorganic fertilizer amendments in soil showed positive effect on petroleum hydrocarbon degradation and its accumulation in plants. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry